My Lord Howe Island Triathlon!

Last Updated on March 3, 2017 by Red Nomad OZ

*WARNING*: Real triathletes may find this post offensive! Please select another post!! 


Lord Howe Island visitors seeking inertia are likely to be disappointed. Getting from A to B usually involves walking or cycling – and the best island activities are high-energy, hands-on and outdoors based. So after two days of reconnaissance on foot, we extended our range with bicycles – and that’s how I inadvertently became a triathlete!

But not a conventional one. 

Callously flouting triathlon rules we started with the cycling leg, broke it into three parts and split the second one with a bakery lunch. Well, wouldn’t you? And despite my 28 year cycling hiatus, I still taught other cyclists a thing or two about cycling speed. You’d think the Islanders had never seen anyone cycle so slowly as they whizzed past me, Mills & Boon-man thighs – all tanned and muscular – working their pedals into a blur!! But I guess they’d already seen the magnificent scenery my more leisurely (aka ‘snail’) pace allowed me to admire … 


Swimming at Old Settlement Beach, Lord Howe Island

In my defence, my pre-holiday Farm Gym fitness regime suffered several setbacks. A fencing session (post & wire, not epée & en garde) in gumboots on a steep, rocky slope covered in slippery grass went horribly wrong. While no photographic evidence exists to support my ‘world’s first planker’ claim, the slide to the bottom of the hill on my stomach was pure planking in motion … although planking purists could argue my swift, ungainly descent wasn’t actually ‘balancing’!
The twisted ankle and bout of flu came later. 

But none of those affected the swimming leg at beautiful Old Settlement Beach, although it would have been much faster (and further!) if not for the distraction of unrelieved views over Mounts Lidgbird and Gower.  

Old Settlement Beach from Malabar Hill, Lord Howe Island

In another desperate act of triathletic rebellion, we replaced running with hiking. Which made this the most challenging leg so far, given a) the bakery lunch taken during the second cycling leg, b) wet swimmers and c) inappropriate sandals. Malabar Hill’s steep climb – from 0 to 209 metres above sea level – rewards triathletes (and regular climbers) who reach the narrow ridge without contracting vertigo with a 360° view taking in Old Settlement, the Admiralty Islands, Ned’s Beach and – best of all – the wondrous Ball’s Pyramid in the distance! And while looking down all 209 metres of sheer cliff to a turtle swimming in the sea below made me feel queasy, the Red-tailed Tropicbirds flying backwards (literally!) and forwards at eye level more than made up for it.

Looking South from Malabar Hill
Descending quickly to avoid the threatening rain, we broke the final cycling leg back along lagoon road to our lodge by a stop at the shop for essential provisions for an evening in. Just as well as it later poured with rain! But it wouldn’t have mattered anyway – I was too tired to move …  


For the record, here are my results:


Lord Howe Island Triathlon statistics:

She’ll be coming down the mountain …

  • General handicaps: Planking injuries, twisted ankle, system weakened by flu, spectacular scenery, bakery temptation
  • Cycling legs: ~6km total over 3 legs. Handicaps: 28 years between cycles
  • Swimming leg: 20m (no, that’s not a misprint. ‘Swim’ is a euphemism for ‘dip and splash about’)
  • Hiking leg: 1.4 km return, from 0-209 metres above sea level. Handicaps: Recent lunch, inappropriate sandals, wet clothing
  • Time taken: All day!!
  • Ranking: 2nd (of two, although the other participant didn’t have as many of the general handicaps!)
And if you’re thinking it’d be easy to outdo this performance, feel free to give it a go – but ensure you apply the same or equivalent handicaps!! 

Just let me know when my record has been beaten …

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  1. @TGN – Or should I say TFN?? Always a pleasure to participate in your hop! AND … look out for mine later in the year!!
    @TriGirl – OMIGOD, a REAL triathlete!! How embarrassing … but visit wonderful LHI anytime for this ‘competition’!!!!

  2. Stopped by from Texa’s Storyteller Hop. This is so funny! As one who struggles to become a triathlete with all the uber fit people, this was perfect…when does registration open for next year’s event??

  3. Haha, this is great, I love it! What a fun weekend. I bet it was challenging, but a blast. And with that scenery, can’t complain too much 🙂 Just wanted to say thanks real quick for linking up to the Storytellers Blog Hop this weekend. Glad to have you there again! And hope to see your hop around sometime soon as well 🙂 All the best

  4. @Glowless – Now you see why I warned REAL triathletes to stay away – it’s almost embarassing how proud I am of what to them wouldn’t even raise a sweat!!

  5. Well you may have come 2nd from 2 but I would’ve been a DNF so you beat me 🙂 Good on ya for doing it!

  6. @Aleah – Well, swimming’s probably the only one of the three I DO do confidently!! If we competed as a duo no one would beat us!!

  7. Wow, what a full day indeed! I run and bike, but I have yet to swim confidently, so congrats! And I love the new template!!!

  8. @Betty – Welcome back! Glad you like it – the island AND the template, that is!!
    @cajunlicious – Welcome to you too! Look forward to your return visits!
    @Mrs Tuna – haha, so do I if I want to go any faster … I’m OK with the go-slow, but I’m sure everyone else wants me to speed it up a bit!

  9. what beautiful photos of a lovely island!!

    love your new template.

    miss you

    betty xx

  10. Marion your photos are absolutely SUBLIME! Oh, and wordsmithing brilliant too! Most entertaining!
    Cheers, Ilias @ Cafe Y

  11. @Manzanita – Hey thanx, but if you actually saw me you’d realise I’m not so athletic … Good to see you back!
    @Ilias – STOP! I’m blushing … or maybe that’s just the champagne at lunch!! Have a great weekend!

  12. You changed your blog around. I like the header picture, in fact, I like all the photos. Gorgeous scenery. You crack me up with the humor but you really are an athlete, Madam. Feel safe with your title around me…. ain’t gonna give it a try!!! LOL I’ll leave that to you young uns.

  13. I’m putting this on my list too !
    You make it sound like paradise.

  14. @ladyfi – welcome, and thanx! It’s almost impossible to take bad photos there!!
    @magsx2 – I thought it was pretty obvious I was doing what the unkind would call the ‘seniors’ version!!
    @LV – I was beyond exhausted! And that night there was a storm with rain too!! Weird, huh?!
    @PerthDailyPhoto – Welcome! Plenty of adventures already, plenty more to come! Look forward to seeing you again!!
    @Dianne – THE most fabulous!! But don’t just take my word for it …
    @Alessandra – I run, bike and swim – just not very well!! But it’s a pleasure doing all of them in a place like this!!

  15. I have lots of running friends, I don’t run, or bike or swim, but I enjoy the photos that they bring back (like you here), since they all seem to go to the most wild places!!!

  16. Hi Red Nomad Oz, looking forward to seeing more of your adventures. Excellent photos with hilarious explanation, perfect!

  17. I thought I was tired from the storms we had last night. But, after reading your post, I am twice as tired.

  18. Hi,
    Fabulous scenery, and great photo’s. I thought you did really well with your triathlon, I’m pretty sure I would have a bit of trouble doing it, old age catches up. 🙂

  19. @Windsmoke – Yep, just love living on the edge … And weirdly, I don’t think of myself as a photographer, so always nice to have the pix remarked on!
    @Eccentricess – Yeah! Mills & Boon man ROCKS!
    @diane b – I’m just grateful it wasn’t that windy when we were there! Otherwise I might have been going so slow I’d have been going backwards!!

  20. Funny post yeah. It is a beautiful spot. I was there about 20 years ago and much fitter than I am now. Even so I had a hard time pedalling against the wind.

  21. I love riding slow. That was the best way to admire the local gardens as a teen.
    Next time I go riding, I will be looking out for those Mills & Boons man thighs! That gave me a giggle to read. 🙂

  22. @Mary – You understand that ‘athlete’ and ‘triathlete’ are fairly loose descriptions, don’t you? And the laugh is the least I can do to repay you for those sensational recipes …
    @Carolyn – We’ll definitely return, if for no other reason than to erase the embarrassment of being the slowest cyclist on the island …
    @Andrew – Well … there’s slow, then there’s S…L…O…W!!! You get to see even more if you walk up the hills pushing your bike as well!!

  23. Ha Ha good one. We love Lord Howe Island. Last time I actually had a bike the whole time although my longest rides were from beach to beach and up to the start of the mountain walks. I was proud of myself and only nearly fell off once LOL.

  24. You actually had me belly laughing this morning. Triathlons need more athletes like you :-)You have a good time whatever you do. That is a gift. Thanks for sharing it with us. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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